Apostrophe (figure of speech)

Apostrophe (Greek ἀποστροφή, apostrophé, "turning away"; the final e being sounded)[1] is an exclamatory figure of speech. It occurs when a speaker breaks off from addressing the audience (e.g. in a play) and directs speech to a third party such as an opposing litigant or some other individual, sometimes absent from the scene. Often the addressee is a personified abstract quality or inanimate object.[2][3] In dramatic works and poetry written in or translated into English, such a figure of speech is often introduced by the vocative exclamation "O". Poets may apostrophize a beloved, the Muse, God, love, time, or any other entity that can’t respond in reality.


See also


  1. Apostrophe | Define Apostrophe at Dictionary.com
  2. Hays, J. Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott (1 September 2011). The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook (Text Only Edition). Baker Books. p. 891. ISBN 978-1-4412-3785-9.
  3. Ford, Margaret L. (1984). Techniques of Good Writing. Irwin Pub. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7725-5001-9. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  4. Greenblatt, Stephen (2006). The Norton Anthology of English Literature Ed. 8, Vol. D. New York: Norton. p. 429.
  5. "Politics of friendship. (Cover Story)". American Imago. September 22, 1993.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Apostrophe". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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